Thursday, May 21, 2015

Best trails to see Dry Tortugas’ wonders

Camping on the beach at Dry Tortugas National
Park. Photo courtesy of Dry Tortugas NPS.
Among the best ways to see Dry Tortugas National Park’s top sights is via a day hike. Just three short walks allow you to enjoy each of the park’s highlights – a historic fort, a tropical key, and a Gulf of Mexico beach.

Historic fort
Built with more than 16 million bricks during the mid-1800s, Fort Jefferson is the Western Hemisphere’s largest masonry structure. Six walls and towers with a moat make up the fort’s outer area on Garden Key.

Tropical key
Intrepid explorers can cross an intermittent sand bar from Garden Key to Bush Key. A sand beach rings the latter, which offers more privacy than the former. Bush Key is closed February through mid-September for bird nesting.

Gulf of Mexico beach
Park visitors can stroll along a Gulf of Mexico beach some 70 miles west of Key West. Located south of the boat pier, Garden Key’s dinghy beach area includes picnic tables, swimming area, and campground.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks guidebook.